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SGR cargo drops on fewer vessels at Mombasa port

BUSINESS
By Graham Kajilwa | July 4th 2021
SGR freight train hauls along Port Reitz Beach Management Unit lane, Mombasa, January 14, 2018. [Gideon Maundu, Standard]

The amount of cargo handled by Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) dropped in the second quarter of this year due to lower vessel numbers at the Mombasa port.

A report by the company shows total cargo hauled stood at 451,208 tonnes in April, which went down to 383,109 tonnes in May and 378,977 in June.

KRC said the performance was “relatively steady” with the report noting that out of the total freight carried by Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) operator Afristar in June, bulk cargo accounted for 115,920 tonnes, with container cargo registering 263,057 tonnes.

“SGR performance between June 2020 and June 2021 was remarkable, with the total twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) standing at 284,815 tonnes, bulk cargo tonnage at 366,008  while the total tonnage for the fiscal year was 4,584,173 tonnes,” the report said.

To enhance cargo evacuations, KRC and the Afristar do double-decker stacking of 80 wagons to maximise capacity, with each of the two trains ferrying 152 TEUs per trip to the Inland Container Depot (ICD) in Nairobi.

Meanwhile, a special tandem double-engine train hauling 70 wagons of 140 TEUs has been added to reduce any cargo pile up and “make Mombasa the port of choice for domestic and transit cargo”, KRC said.

The corporation noted that due to close operational cooperation between it and other partner cargo logistics agencies such as Kenya Ports Authority and Kenya Revenue Authority, it has been able to sustain direct loading of cargo onto wagons and containers and offtake to ICDs in Nairobi and Naivasha without delays.

KRC Managing Director Philip Mainga said the level of co-operation from partner agencies within the transport corridor has made the performance impressive.

“We expect significant improvements once ongoing infrastructure improvement and expansion projects are commissioned,” he said.

One of these projects is rehabilitation of the Naivasha-Nakuru-Kisumu metre-gauge line, which is on course to meet its target of full commissioning by August.

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